The Dunning-Kruger Effect

Man: Yeah, so basically, the Dunning-Kruger effect is, the stupider you are, the smarter you think you are.

Girl: How smart are you?

Man: Oh, pretty sm… oooh. I see what you did there.

Girl: Heh.

Careers in Science: Zoosemiotics

The cat was chirping.

She was telling the zoosemiotician something, but it was heavily contextual, so he had to stop what he was doing, whatever that was, something with a pen and a Moleskine that looked like a guy fisting a wasp while Juliette Binoche watched, and observe the cat more closely.

The cat was chirping and looking at the front door, so the zoosemiotician opened the door and the cat went out. Three more came in, so he fed them.

It was like a story problem. One cat goes out, three come in, how many are eating? Two, because one has a thing whereby he won’t eat with the other cats unless you watch.

Obviously not hungry enough, was the zoosemiotician’s diagnosis. He was depressed. He had been reading about how stupid people are. That is, he had known it for a long time, that people are stupid, but god. He had made the mistake of reading about Fox news pie charts that were nonsense and Fox news survey results that added up to 120%, and he had watched that video where that guy interviews Palin supporters and not a single one can name a single actual Palin policy. Even accounting for bias and editing, it was a chilling thing to watch.

The zoosemiotician thinks, the Dunning-Kruger effect goes further towards explaining modern society than any other single explanation of anything.

The zoosemiotician’s wife comes into the kitchen. He offers her coffee.

“WTF is that in your journal? It looks like a guy fisting a wasp.”

The zoosemiotician chirps. His wife opens the front door.

A cat comes in.

Careers in Science: Stomatology

The stomatologist’s wife gave him a tongue scraper.


Molded plastic handle branching, curved, with a single scraping blade at the end. All in one piece. The stomatologist wondered how long it would be until the razor blade companies got involved, after which scrapers would be molded with the scraping blade at a more efficient angle, and finally manufactured with multiple scraper blades; first two, then three and more.

The tongue scraper spent several days in the stomatologist’s cabinet before he gave it a try.


The stomatologist thought.

He wished he had a microscope, because, wow!

No wonder the dog didn’t want to kiss me anymore, thought the stomatologist, even though he didn’t have a dog.

The stomatologist wonders why everything is blue. His toaster, his coffee maker, his teawaterboiler, his shampoo and toothpaste.

The stomatologist just got the old kitchen table back from the carpenter, who refinished it. He is happy at how it turned out. He tells his daughter a story about one time when his dog shat plastic army men, then spends 15 minutes trying to work out what motivated him to tell the story.

The stomatologist hopes he isn’t turning into one of those guys who travel in clouds of malapropisms, like when you roll down the car window on the freeway and receipts fly all over.


Despite the – on average – unseasonal warmth this month, hibernation is looking better and better. Or, if I could draw better, I’d invent a new insect. Something really kickass.


My cello teacher told me to play the tune I’m working on faster. I’ve got the intonation down more or less, just need to work  on the bowing (as always) and the tempo. My learning process is this sort of global bringing all the millions of elements into focus thing.

So, I will work onthis. That, and making it actually sound like actual music. Unfortunately that comes last with me. It’s as if I can’t relax and play something (somewhat) musically unless I know everything else is working. Also, serious coordination deficits, I suspect.


I blame the amalgam fillings.

I am wondering, though, whether it might also be adviseable to seek, or compose, tunes more in line with my character, or nature – which is it? – and whether that might involve something extremely slow and drone-like, at least at the moment (a moment that has lasted, so far, decades).

Something slow, and procrastinating, but also persistent and perseverent.

Zoe Keating has a neat number on what I believe is her latest album, which plays at I think one-quarter the speed it was originally recorded at.


It sounds real neat.

Also, I am totally at sea in my quest to find the right combination of effects pedals for my electric cello. Jacob has been very helpful with his patient advice, but in the end it comes down to, I guess, carting the thing to a shop and trying some out. Or carting it somewhere else and trying some out. And I suck so badly that I have serious inhibitions about trying anything out in public.

So I have been killing time watching demos on youtube of various pedals I have googled or otherwise found. I am, on the one hand, looking for something to add a little grit and character to the instrument’s sound, and on the other hand looking for something with a maximum of flexibility re: the parameters one can adjust and change.

I bought a cheap distortion pedal on ebay a while back, I have mentioned it before, and discovered that what works for a guitar works differently for a bowed instrument. It makes a fun noise, but is not adjustable enough, in the end, although I do love its ability to receive Russian short-wave transmissions when plugged into the theremin. It’s like ET phoning home.

I’ve been looking at moogerfooger demos, but due to the guitar/cello discrepancy and their expense am at something of a loss since local shops stock only a few of the models and not usually the ones I’m most interested in, so even if I did find the guts, and time to try them out, the actual ones I’m interested in would not be available.